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Mass Spectrometry Imaging of Specialized Metabolites for Predicting Lichen Fitness and Snail Foraging

  • Gadea, Alice
  • Fanuel, Mathieu
  • Le Lamer, Anne-Cécile
  • Boustie, Joël
  • Rogniaux, Hélène
  • Charrier, Maryvonne
  • Lohézic-Le Dévéhat, Françoise
Publication Date
Jan 20, 2020
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Lichens are slow-growing organisms supposed to synthetize specialized metabolites to protect themselves against diverse grazers. As predicted by the optimal defense theory (ODT), lichens are expected to invest specialized metabolites in higher levels in reproductive tissues compared to thallus. We investigated whether Laser Desorption Ionization coupled to Mass Spectrometry Imaging (LDI-MSI) could be a relevant tool for chemical ecology issues such as ODT. In the present study, this method was applied to cross-sections of thalli and reproductive tissues of the lichen Pseudocyphellaria crocata. Spatial mapping revealed phenolic families of metabolites. A quantification of these metabolites was carried out in addition to spatial imaging. By this method, accumulation of specialized metabolites was observed in both reproductive parts (apothecia and soralia) of P. crocata, but their nature depended on the lichen organs: apothecia concentrated norstictic acid, tenuiorin, and pulvinic acid derivatives, whereas soralia mainly contained tenuiorin and pulvinic acid. Stictic acid, tenuiorin and calycin, tested in no-choices feeding experiments, were deterrent for N. hookeri while entire thalli were consumed by the snail. To improve better knowledge in relationships between grazed and grazing organisms, LDI-MSI appears to be a complementary tool in ecological studies

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